This article explains what email personalization is and provides details on how to add it to your campaigns in the greeting or as a custom URL.
Personalization is when you add specific information about the person or company who is receiving your email campaign to the actual content of the mailing. It can be as simple as adding their first name to the greeting, which helps to reassure the recipient that your email wasn't sent by a bot and that you are genuinely interested in creating a relationship with them.
Watch a quick video tutorial on personalization
When done well, personalized campaigns can impress your contacts and increase your response rates. You can personalize your campaign in a number of ways including greeting your recipients by their first name, inserting a company name in the body of your mailing, or including any other information you've stored about contacts in the campaigns they receive. Personalization works in both HTML and plain text campaigns as well as in subject lines. First, we'll go over how to personalize the greeting or subject line of a campaign.
How to add a personalized greeting1. In an open campaign, place your cursor in the text box where you'd like the name to appear in the greeting.
2. Move to the editor toolbar and click on Insert, then select Personalization.
3. A personalization tag that looks like [% member:first_name default="" %] will appear where the name should go, and a Field toolbar will be visible just underneath the editor toolbar. On that Field toolbar, click the dropdown arrow for Field to find the option for Name First (it's usually listed first) and the tag in your text box will update accordingly.
4. On the same Field toolbar, add a placeholder (like Colleague or Friend) into the Placeholder box next to it. The placeholder is what will appear for recipients who don't have anything listed in their contact record for first name (you'll want to be prepared in case this happens). As you type in the placeholder, notice how it auto-populates in the text box, and the tag looks something like [% member:first_name default="Friend" %].
5. After you are finished with the rest of the mailing, be sure to test your personalization by sending your mailing to yourself or a test group first.
How to add personalization to a subject line
It is also a breeze to add personalization to the subject line of your campaign. Simply add the same tag [% member:first_name default="" %] in the subject line in the place where you'd like to see their name populate.
However, some of our legacy Emma accounts have the first and last name shortcut order swapped to “name_first” and “name_last” respectively. Here is an example tag using this older syntax: [% member:name_first default=”” %]
Advanced personalization optionsIn addition to personalizing a campaign with data from your contact records, you can personalize with links that allow your contacts to manage their preferences, opt-out of mailings, confirm their subscription, and link to signup forms. These options are also listed on the Field toolbar in the dropdown menu, and selecting one will insert that functionality as a link right in your content.
The best way to use these options is to create a hyperlink — just like you would create a link to a website — and then type or paste one of the below tags into the URL field; they are the same ones that will auto-populate from the Field dropdown menu.
- To create a link to manage preferences, use: [% manage_url %]
- To create a link to opt out, use: [% unsub_url %]
- To create a link to confirm subscription, use: [% optin_confirm_url %]
- To create a link to a signup form, use: [% signup_url %]
You can also add personalization to your CYO templates by using the HTML personalization tags.
Create and add personalized URLs (PURLs)You can also create personalized URLs (PURLs) for your recipients. PURLs are commonly used to link to a contact-specific web page or promotion, where each contact has a unique ID that completes a URL.
However, PURLs are not trackable, and you will not be able to view clicks to these links in the response for your mailings (read more on this in the last section of this article below).
How to add a PURL to your campaign1. From the Audience page, you'll need to first add the contact field that will hold the unique part of the URL for each contact.
Please note: When creating the field's shortcut name, don't use any spaces in the field name — this can break the personalized link in the inbox for some recipients.2. Import the unique URL value to each contact's record (be sure to choose Add & Update as you import style).
3. Find your field's shortcut name, as you'll use this when creating your link. From the Manage contact fields page, click the arrow to the right of the field.
5. To create the PURL, you'll format the field's shortcut name with double angle brackets like this: [[shortcutname]]. For this example, since the shortcut name is coupon-code, the tag should be formatted like this: [[coupon-code]]. This code is replaced with the unique value for each recipient and can be added onto the static part of the URL, like this: www.example.com/[[coupon-code]].
6. Once you have the PURL built, you can create a hyperlink to it just like you'd link to a website.
How to use an email address in a PURL
If you wish to use an email address within a PURL, simply use this personalized tag: [[email]]
For example, let's say your URL uses a recipient's email address as the unique part of the URL, like this: www.example.com/EMAILADDRESS/special, then the PURL for the example would be: www.example.com/[[email]]/special.
How to create a PURL using contact data
To create a PURL in the editor behind an image, button, or hyperlinked text, you will need to use [[fieldshortcut_name]] (or, the "double-bracket" tag) instead of using the [% member:field_name %] (or, "bracket-percent"). This works in any environment you can add a link (images, buttons, etc).
Using the double-bracket tag will create a redirect link that will reach out to Emma to grab the information, thus creating a single, trackable link. However, there are three crucial things to note about using this tag:
- If using the “double bracket” method for an entire URL while using the drag and drop editor, the link in your member field CANNOT have “HTTP://”, as Emma will add that automatically if there's not one immediately present and it will break the link.
- The information that is used to create the link is pulled in AT THE TIME OF CLICK, NOT THE TIME OF SEND. Because of this, if the information in the member record changes, the link will change along with it, since it's not printing the information into the email, but rather linking back to Emma to get the information at the time of CLICK.
- The good news here is that the links will track in Emma and show on the heat map, just like your normal links.
Other important notes
- If you need to use personalization to complete a URL - for instance, adding the member ID to http://www.example.com/MEMBERID, you must use this format for personalization, which will not be trackable: [% member:fieldshortcut_name default='' %]
- You have to use single quotes around the default, rather than double quotes, or your mailing will not send.
- The formatting of these MUST be consistent through the entire URL, for example:
- If you use double brackets, the default syntax is ":value" instead of default="value" Example: https://foo.com/?q=[[email]]&c=[[city:nashville]]
Where to find the tag for use in a custom field
- In an open campaign, drag a text block into your mailing and leave your cursor in the text box.
- Move to the editor toolbar and click on Insert, then select Personalization.
- Select the field by its shortcut name and click on it. The tag will then show in the text box.
- Select and copy the tag to use it in your code, but don't forget to fill in the placeholder text, and then delete it from the text box. For example, if you wanted to use this tag for first name [% member:first_name default="" %], you'll want to be sure to type in the placeholder text manually, which would be in between the quotation marks, so it'd be [% member:first_name default="Placeholder" %].
Important information about using and tracking PURLs
When someone clicks a PURL in your mailing, they're clicking a unique link that is specific only to them, which is based on the information that link pulled into the mailing from their contact record. Because of this fact, there isn't a way to track who clicked a PURL, since that link becomes several unique links when you send it out, and that information doesn't redirect back to Emma for tracking purposes. Similarly, email addresses used as PURLs aren't trackable because the link is directed to the recipient's email client as opposed to being directed or redirected through Emma's servers. You can refer to this article for a list of personalization tags for our standard contact fields.
Personalization tags do not always work as expected on landing pages and should be used at your own risk.
Additionally, it's important to note that while all default personalization tags in your account use an underscore for tags with multi-word fields, personalization tags for custom contact fields use a hyphen instead. Any improperly formatted personalization tag will not populate the desired data.
Default personalization tag uses an underscore = [% member:name_first default="first name" %]
Custom contact fields personalization tag uses a hyphen = [% member:name-first default="first name" %]
Anytime you use both a PURL and a regular personalization tag in a mailing, the PURL will not work correctly when formatted as [[first_name]]. Instead, you will need to use the custom version [% member:first_name default=“firstname” %] in the PURL link and there has to be consistency throughout the mailing. One should also be sure to use double quotation marks as opposed to single quotation marks within the tag.